12/29/2015 — California Volcanoes showing major movement — Precursor to larger activity coming?

A series of dormant volcanoes across California has started to show excessive earthquake activity.   Most of the volcanoes showing movement are along the Eastern California / Nevada border region, and most of the Volcanoes have been dormant for over 10,000 years.

Locations like Steamboat Springs volcanic field, Mono Lake Supervolcano, Opal Mountain / Black Mountain, Bitner Butte volcano, and offshore at undersea volcanic fields have all shown movement the past several days.

Today, we see that a swarm of earthquakes has now broken out near Coso Junction, CA – specifically at the Coso Volcanic Field located in Central Eastern California. (seen highlighted in green)

uinkaret volcanic field arizona earthquake december 29 2015a

coso volcanic field earthquake dec 29 2015 california


In addition to the most recent M3.0 at Coso Volcanic field, we see ANOTHER dormant volcano to the North in Nevada (Bitner Butte) has been struck by a swarm as well as the Uinkaret Volcanic field in Arizona to the East.

Bitner Butte (to the North) was struck by a M4.3 earthquake just 5 days ago, and again with a M4.3 yesterday, see the report on the earthquakes at this volcano in Nevada here:


nevada bitner butte may 7 2015 earthquake
Bitner Butte Volcano has been showing movement in NW Nevada for several months, usually swarming with earthquakes before larger movement strikes off the West coast out to sea.


The other volcanic location to be hit with a rare earthquake was the Uinkaret Volcanic field, located in Northern Arizona (struck by a M3.7 event / M3.6 revised).

uinkaret volcanic field arizona earthquake december 29 2015


We were expecting the dormant volcanoes in California began to show larger movement this week, also we were watching for a M4.0 to M5.0 to strike off the Gorda Escarpment in NW California.

Both locations, the Gorda Escarpment and the dormant Volcanoes , were struck by M4.0 to M5.0 activity.

Multiple M4.0+ earthquakes have struck across the warned areas.  The warning was issued this past week, and again on December 27th.

See the warnings for the West Coast here.

past 7 days of earthquakes dec 29 2015
Past 7 days of earthquakes up to December 29, 2015 shows the craton being displaced, and the volcanic locations along the West coast showing the most activity.


Overall, this recent uptick in volcanic earthquakes along the West coast is a sign of building pressure in the region, which means we need to be on watch for larger activity in the near term in the adjacent areas to this current activity.

This puts the areas of Oregon / Washington into the mix, as well as Southern California along the Coast going into Baja Mexico.  Keep watch over the next several days for possible similar (or larger) movement to strike.


Information on this earthquake at the Coso Volcanic field from the USGS:

Magnitude/uncertainty 3.0 ml± 0.3
Location/uncertainty 36.146°N 117.983°W± 0.2 km
Depth/uncertainty 0.2 km± 0.5
Origin Time
Number of Stations 50
Number of Phases 63
Minimum Distance 11.94 km (0.11°)
Travel Time Residual 0.18 sec
Azimuthal Gap 42°
FE Region Central California (40)